Meiji Shrine and Harajuku


Meiji Shrine and Harajuku

Thank you for joining our Tokyo Free Walking Tour.
One day during the rainy season in Tokyo, we had a cloudy sky and a ray of sunshine.
On that same day, 17th of June, we welcomed 15 guests from, U.S.A., Australia, Argentina Singapore, Italy and Germany in front of Torii, or the Shinto Shrine gate, -the Meiji Shinto Shrine in Harajaku.

The weather condition didn’t hinder the people to explore and feel the freshness of the mysterious tunnel made by more than 100,000 trees in the Shinto shrine ground.
While looking around the woods in the shrine compound, we saw some moisture still descending from the trees above us.

We enjoyed witnessing a few Japanese traditional events while strolling in the Shrine compound.
We were able to watch the demonstration of wagashi-making, or making of Japanese traditional sweets.
The other event was a Japanese traditional wedding ceremony.
Both of the events fully attracted the guests’ attention and became subjects of their photos.
Our guides normally introduce to the guests the distinctive events on the spot.

Interestingly, there was another event held in this sacred area at the same time.
The kyudo competition, or also known as Japanese archery competition was also hosted in the same location. However, it is out of our tour route.
—– What is “kyudo”? —–
Kyudo commonly refers to Japanese Archery in English. Like typical archery, players use a bow to shoot arrows. What differentiates it from regular archery is the equipment’s size and the material it is made from, and the player’s clothing.
The bows in Japanese archery are typically made of bamboo material and are around 2 meters long. The arrows, on the other hand, are also made of bamboo or carbon materials and are longer than that of western style archery.
In addition to that, the shooters also wear a special uniform called “Hakama”. This resembles a long skirt, usually black in color, partnered with a white shirt.
The players also have to follow certain actions and manners while shooting the target. (Below is the picture showing these actions.)

It is called “Kyudo hassetsu” which is referred to as the eight fundamental movements and forms in Kyudo. It is significantly important for Kyudo enthusiasts to master them adequately to improve their technical progressions.
This educational way helps players stabilize their upper bodies and assume proper posture in drawing the bow until in firing the arrow. At the same time, this helps Kyudo players concentrate well all throughout the procedure of firing arrows and they can maintain the proper position, like standing firmly, even though the target has been hit.
Kyudo admirers practice this traditional sport primarily to train not only their bodies, but their minds and spirits as well. This is because aiming at a target requires great concentration like having a clear mind, and also discipline.
Don’t miss the chance to seeing Japanese traditional sport.
(By Arac)